Aseptic Blow Molders Aseptic Blow Molder Airstar AS

Airstar is an integral part of the ABF system. It is an aseptic blower which blows preforms sterilized with a dry process using vapor H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor).

Airstar blow moulding machine was designed having asepsis as a core concept from the beginning. The blowing process of the sterile preforms is performed with sterile air and the blow moulding machine sterilization is performed by Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor.

Sterile blow moulding

The key decision to blow the preforms ’upside down’ enables all non-cleanable components to be located outside the sterile zone. Electrical components are located above the sterile zone. Mechanical components and all components that require lubrication are located below the sterile zone. All surfaces in the sterile zone are accessible and are very easy to clean. The internal surfaces of the blow moulding machine can be cleaned by foaming and sterilized by Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor, which also sterilizes all air pipes and stretching rod housings.

The stretching blowing process

During operation, a standard stretch rod moves up and down in a non-sterile environment entering the moulds and touching the preform/bottles. The Airstar AS includes a patented magnetic joint that allows movement inside the aseptic housing and makes sure that, after sterilization with Hydrogen Peroxide, the stretch rod remains sterile.

The blowing process of the sterile preforms is performed with sterile air; this requires both the use of micro-filtration for the sterilization of the air and the sterilization of the piping with VHP. For this reason GEA developed a specific air blowing block that can be sterilized simultaneously keeping reactivity, reliability, ’reduced pressure drop’ and ’reduced dead volume’.

The European patented moulds locking system - composed by two rings that, with a symmetrical movement, lock the two moulds together without the need of a pneumatic compensation system - reduces the number of components, minimizes air consumption and especially avoids the need to sterilize the ’narrow’ compensation chamber.

Changeover

Changeover of the moulds is performed in a specific isolated area under a laminar air flow generated by an active module with HEPA filters. A mould assembly system allows the operator to change moulds easily. After the changeover, the system performs a rapid cycle of sterilization with VHP before aseptic production is restarted.